How Will Covid Impact the 2021-22 School Year?

Lucas Tessarollo, Writer

In March of 2020, the whole world got turned upside down and the schooling system across the globe became altered. The virtual schooling system has continued into the 2020/21 school year, although there has now been a hybrid option opened up to students. There are still many questions surrounding what the next school year will look like and even how education will be changed permanently when the Covid pandemic is over.

Tracy Kibler, the principal of TJHS and the former principal of Walkersville High School, gave more insight into what the next school year will look like and everything surrounding the future of education. Ms. Kibler spoke about the high likelihood of a virtual option still being open for students who may not be ready to go back into school physically. This is something that is widely approved by experts in the fields of education and health because it is very unlikely that we will be in a position to force students back into the physical school setting while there are still large health concerns.

Ms. Kibler also spoke about the importance of the vaccine for reopening and called it the “critical factor.” She went on to say that we must get children vaccinated as quickly and safely as possible because with many people pressuring schools to reopen and many students in America going back to school, some of them are getting Covid and are becoming very sick.

In addition to that, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that teenagers are more likely to spread Covid than other age groups. Only Moderna has already begun trials on children ages 12-15, while Pfizer recently announced that it will begin trials on kids ages 12-15. This is very good news for the chances of reopening schools, and Dr. Robert Frenck, principal investigator for the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine trial at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center said, “For kids 12 and above, I think we’ll have a vaccine licensed before the 2021-2022 school year.”

Ms. Kibler also mentioned that was a possibility and something that she would like, is doing one full week of in-person school for one group of students, and then the next week for another group of students. This would be very beneficial in her view because many people feel that it is much easier to get things done like labs and projects if the students are together for longer periods of time, rather than just two days.

Something that is typically never mentioned when it comes to Covid and the changes that have occurred, is the positives that have come out of this situation and what we could learn for the future. Ms. Kibler spoke about this and said that online learning has been very successful for some students, and it has also helped some students to get away from bullying or drama that would normally occur in school. She has also admired the growing student advocacy that occurred this school year, and she is proud to have seen so many students rise to the challenge and, “be their own motivator.”

In addition, Ms. Kibler has been pleased to see teachers increase their student engagement which has been necessary throughout the Covid pandemic, and she hopes to see this continue into the future. Larger events are also very important in Ms. Kibler’s view to building a sense of school community and togetherness, which she hopes to do next school year in a safe fashion, although she is already planning events such as graduation for this year.

Although we can make many predictions and assumptions about what the future may hold, nobody truly knows what will happen and what may occur, which is why Ms. Kibler specifically stressed the need and importance of adapting to what comes your way and making the best of it.